Jeremiah 31:31-40 New Covenant Hope – Buy A Field.
In this chapter Jeremiah has written about how in the midst of the LORD’s covenant lawsuit against the nation, he chose to spare a remnant who would one day return, that in them there would be a “home of justice, and mountain of holiness” (v. 23), because they had “found grace in the wilderness” (v. 2). Jeremiah was called for a twofold purpose – “to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (1:10). This all would depend on whether the recipients of his words would repent and have faith (18:1-11). Ultimately God is the potter fashioning the clay as he sees fit, but those destined for destruction regarded this as hopeless saying, “we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart” (18:12). God predestines through means, so it is ironic that apostates thus testify to the means of their own end. Now that the story has progressed we get an even clearer picture of what was transpiring. As the apostates were being plucked up, broken down, thrown down, and destroyed, the LORD was also bringing the remnant through affliction to be built and planted by him (31:28).
This is the context within which the promise of a new covenant is given – old covenant lawsuit, and new covenant renewal. It is the LORD who would make this new covenant, not according to the old covenant made with the fathers, which they broke, even though he was as a husband to them (vv. 29-32). Instead, in the new covenant the LORD would put his “law in their minds, and write it on their hearts,” and so would fulfill the goal of the covenant relationship – that he would be their God and they his people (v. 33). All shall know the LORD because he would forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more (v. 34). The covenant LORD is the creator and sustainer of the whole of creation, and the promise to Israel to have a godly seed, hearkening back to Genesis 3:15, would remain as sure as the foundations of the created order itself (vv. 35-37). There was a day coming when the LORD would build a city where he could dwell, that would not be plucked up or thrown down, but would be “holy to the LORD” (vv. 38-40). With this promise, Jeremiah does not retreat and wait to go to heaven, but instead he buys a field, planting his flag for the LORD (32:1ff.).